Yanou M’Booura is 18 years old. She is from a village just outside Blitta, a town in Togo’s Central region, but she goes to school at Blitta’s high school. So that Yanou doesn’t have to travel from her village each day to go to school, her family has rented a room for Yanou and her brother in Blitta. On weekends and during school vacations, Yanou goes back to her village where she lives in a compound with her mother, three aunts, 15 cousins, and four siblings. Her father has a second wife and he lives with her in a nearby village where he is the primary school director. Yanou’s mother sells fruit to make extra money, but she never attended school herself. At school, Yanou studies in the science track. She chose the science track, because she wants to become a doctor. In her class there are 76 students, but only 9 girls. Because there are so few girls, the boys in her class often pick on Yanou and try to distract her from her studies, but she doesn’t let them shake her focus. At 14, Yanou is the youngest student in her class. This is due to the fact that she has always passed her exams, received good grades, and therefore never had to redo a class. Up until Yanou received the Pathways scholarship, Yanou’s mother paid her school fees while Yanou sold fruit on the street in order to pay for books and school supplies. She often couldn’t afford many books, so in her free time, Yanou would go to the local library to read. Now, with the Pathways scholarship, Yanou will have more to buy school supplies and books that she can call her own.
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